October 26, 2012

Heteroglossia in Public Secrets

Heteroglossia, which is the notion that a piece has two voices simultaneously. This ideal, which Bakhtin explored in "Discourse in the Novel," generally refers to the different perspectives and views that are being presented in a piece. In relation to the Public Secret, this term is a perfect depiction of the frame of the work.

Although Daniel may be the one that has organized, edited and presented that piece in the form that we are able to view, the piece itself is really an embodiment of a multitude of different testimonies. This piece serves as a way for the women in the prison to give their first hand accounts of their experiences in the prison. This makes the piece seem more credible of course to an extent because they are and have experienced the very thing that they are reporting.

Heteroglossia plays a role in this piece because  the viewer first meets Daniel, who takes us on a journey into the facility, talking about the manicured grass, the barb wire fence around the parameter, even the walk up to the doors of the facility, giving us the public view of what the facility looks like, of what a typical visitor may expect to see. We are basically initially introduced to the prison in an outside looking in type of scope, which is the only scope that many of us are familiar with. The piece then takes a turn and the voice of the piece changes to a more inside scope of the prison, which is the scope that very few may be familiar with, or choose to ignore.

These two views of the prison are explored continuously throughout the piece. while there are a variety of voices that encompass this piece they all fall into one of the two categories and lend to the ultimate purpose, which is to of course enlighten.  Much like the website that we viewed in class about Pinpoint, Public Secret intertwines what is generally known about prisons and gives the prisoner a more personable identity through the voice of the prisoners.


Rdexheimer said...

I definitely agree that this piece is characteristic of heteroglossia. Though the work itself is a unity, its components are a multitude of perspectives which all hint at recurrent patterns within the underlying reality. The description that Daniel describes is chilling, and I think that it is extremely appropriate that we receive her description rather than an image of the prison. A central theme to the piece is the sanitation of neglect and abuse by careful engineering and systematic silencing of the oppressed. The piece calls upon us to see the prisoners not as moral criminals, but as possible evidence that the prison industrial complex and its widespread social acceptance are deeply flawed.

Victoria said...

I like your point in the second paragraph. The fact that bulk of the project consists of recorded confessions and what the real people inside the system have to say, really allows the project to "speak for itself" in a whole new way. It also has the handy side effect of lending credibility to the project, as each voice is so individual and distinct, despite the shared experiences they all have.

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